Social Interaction Setting Events: Experimental Analysis of Contextual Variables

By Sasso, Gary M.; Peck, Janine et al. | Behavioral Disorders, November 1998 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Social Interaction Setting Events: Experimental Analysis of Contextual Variables


Sasso, Gary M., Peck, Janine, Garrison-Harrell, Linda, Behavioral Disorders


ABSTRACT Severe behavioral problems and social interaction deficits are the two areas of functioning most responsible for the failure of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) to adjust adequately and achieve success in inclusive settings. Over the past 10 years, the development and refinement of a technology of functional analysis has allowed educators and researchers to address problem behavior more effectively by matching the function of the response to an intervention. Recently, investigators have begun to turn their attention to the assessment and manipulation of setting events that can elicit appropriate responses. This article describes an experimental hypothesis-testing model of structural analysis designed to identify critical contextual variables associated with successful social interaction. Suggestions for use in general education settings are provided, with an emphasis on matching inclusive social environments to individual student antecedent variables. Strengths and weaknesses of various forms of functional analysis are discussed in conjunction with the need to develop reliable, valid, and acceptable assessments that can be used in natural environments.

Severe problem behaviors pose serious challenges for families and teachers of children with E/BD. Behaviors such as noncompliance, aggression, property destruction, and antisocial responses place these children at risk for exclusion from typical school settings (Dunlap & Kern, 1993; Sasso et al., 1992; Vaughn & Horner, 1997).

In the last 20 years, we have witnessed a reemergence in the behavior analytic literature of assessment and treatment processes based on the functions of severe behavioral problems (Carr, 1977; Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1982/1994). Functional assessment attempts to identify the maintaining variables that control or support the occurrence of behavioral problems. When these variables are identified accurately, hypothesis-- driven interventions can be devised (Durand & Carr, 1987; Repp, Felce, & Barton, 1988). There is also increasing evidence that interventions matched to the functions of behavioral problems yield more effective and durable results (Carr & Durand, 1985; Iwata, Pace, Cowdery, & Miltenberger, 1994; Mace, Lalli, & Pinter-Lalli, 1991).

The operant model provides two areas of emphasis for assessment of variables maintaining both problem and prosocial behavior. Functional analyses are designed to determine maintaining variables (consequences) that directly control responses (Neef & Iwata, 1994; Sasso & Reimers, 1988). This assessment process can result in a powerful experimental analysis capable of producing direct functional relationships between a behavior and its controlling variables. Structural analyses, on the other hand, provide an assessment of antecedent conditions or discriminative stimuli that set the stage for responses. Until recently, few investigations were reported demonstrating the relationship between an assessment of these contextual variables and antecedent interventions for severe behavior problems (Carr & Carlson, 1993; Touchette, MacDonald, & Langer, 1985). However, recent work employing a hypothesis-driven structural assessment model suggests that variables such as task length (Dunlap, Kern-- Dunlap, Clarke, & Robbins, 1991), task difficulty (Umbreit, 1996a), and preference (Clarke et al., 1995; Umbreit & Blair, 1997) can have significant effects on the occurrence of behavior. In all of the investigations just mentioned, the primary focus of the assessment was severe behavioral problems and the goal was a reduction of these problem behaviors through a careful arrangement of identified antecedent variables.

Another area of behavioral support that may benefit from these types of analyses is social interaction. The recent emphasis on inclusion has opened a number of new environments and interaction opportunities to children with E/BD (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994; Lewis, Chard, & Scott, 1994).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Social Interaction Setting Events: Experimental Analysis of Contextual Variables
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?